For a while I have been wanting to update the visual of the blog. Finally achieved that aim. This is the last of the packing boxes. I am moving… find me at my new place. Drop by, say hi!
So, you know that I’m working on a novel, working being the operative word. What you didn’t know was the fact that it could well be labeled “Steampunk.” I am sure you feel better for knowing that bit.
So here I am avoiding doing the hard stuff, the ‘getting flesh on the bones’ part.
I now know why the first book can take years. As Matt Haig pointed out everything is more appealing than finishing the book. Every-single -thing. Even doing the ironing and dealing with the kids. (I do love them. Honest.)
I do believe the phrase is procrastination.
Procrastination be damned, stalling on this project is not allowed. I needed to find a way to get this alternative history story moving more than 3 words a week.
Me telling myself “get on with it” doesn’t work. I can reply with “But the kids, the housework, the bills.” Even the ever doting and still miraculously sane husband lecturing me about it results in unfavourable answers to say the least.
Not good enough.
This book must be finished. So I had to do some soul searching. Something that would hold me to the cause.The dredded wagging finger of doom.
Lil ol’ me is goal orientated. I have to unlock all the achievements, I totally have to catch’em all (still working on that one.) I remembered Nano has a July camp. Nanowrimo is, for me, a crash course on “get it down and out of your head.” I didn’t treat it with the respect I wanted to last November. That wasn’t going to work.
Then, through a smog of tweets one lunch time I discovered Clarion West’s Write-a-Thon. You know what Clarion West is? A Science Fiction / Fantasy author training camp – or words to that effect. I’ve know about their workshop for some time. Too far away for me, but this Write-a-thon shadows the workshop. I can pretend I am basking in the shade of the immortals present this year, more importantly it’s a little more tailored toward my writing areas than the overall scope of Nano.
Bonus, I can set my own goals.
I signed up.
You know you could help me be a little more goal focused and sponsor me. Follow my progress I’ll update as often as I can. It’s a simple aim to get this second edit done, at least one hour every day writing before I do anything else.
If you sponsor me you get to shout at me if you see me mucking about in Digital Social World. I promise not to shout back. Much. Funds raised will go to help someone attend that workshop in the future and maintain the work they do there. It’s not a bad thing. Heck you could even sign up yourself and help volunteers work with other writers, guiding them toward their goals while getting yourself where you want to be – right?
Wandering about the twitterverse and this popped up. I love this idea! I see it as an amazing way to reach a market of readers.
I even have something I could share, if only I lived in Leeds/Manchester/ etc
For aspiring and emerging writers, in October 2013 Tiny Owl Workshop will be working with cafes in Brisbane (Australia), Toronto (Canada) and Leeds (England) to add a little something Halloweenish to coffee time. We’ll be publishing 30 flash fiction stories on paper napkins and getting them out through cafes who’d like to join us. We’ll choose 10 stories from Brisbane writers, 10 from Toronto writers and 10 fromLeeds writers. If you want to see what a napkin story looks like take a peek here.We’ve found some wonderful help via the Twitterverse and the lovely Anne E. Murray (@annemurray99) in Canada and Kate McDonald (@mcbookishness) in the UK will be helping to promote the project to aspiring and emerging writers as well as tracking down cafes who may like to be involved. Make sure you follow Anne and Kate on Twitter to keep up with…
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This week has been, well, manic with life things.
Virtually Everything is finally ‘out there.’ If you want to have a read you can find it on Alfiedog.com http://alfiedog.com/products-page/beverley-argent/virtually-everything-beverley-argent-2700-words-science-fiction/
Woot! Awesome… Horray!
On making that step from unpublished to published author, life didn’t stop, there wasn’t a great to-do in the town, and I’m glad to say I haven’t been accosted in the streets. Consider yourself warned.
It has however highlighted a few things about what ‘joe the public’ knows about publishing stories, self publishing and how much work goes into the manufacturing of a story.
First there’s the endless days of writing, the many hours of hating the first draft because it doesn’t do what you want it to. Forget the sleepless nights while characters plot their own story regardless of your mighty planning, you know those, that’s part one of the great machine at work.
According to the voice on the street the second hurdle is publication, the mark of a professional piece of writing is an editor. If your work is self published, that’s one thing. (After all everyone can do that… can’t they just?) But it is so much more impressive if you have had to get past an editor for part two – or some other form of gatekeeper. If you haven’t done that, then you’re just playing at writing.
Now, we, the informed production team know the case isn’t as simply clear cut as that, but just think, you indie-writers, doesn’t your sales pitch sound so much better when you add “I wouldn’t want to let my work out on the world unless it has had the stamp of approval from my editor.”
It makes you sound that bit more professional.
You’ll note that I don’t label myself as an indie/agented author, yet, so do think careful about listening to my opinion. It is only that. One accepted short story doesn’t make me an oracle, nor does a first draft-completed novel for that matter. I can’t even recommend an editor. Yet. I’m not done making that first draft read like I want it to. (You know, that bit where you turn a drivel of ideas into lovely laced together narrative.)
The week ahead is a ‘down tools’ week before I descending on the Newcastle Writing Conference. After the mess of busy-ness I have had, I am looking forward to reading for a change. (I’ll ‘responsibly’ ignore the fact that there is a deadline looming in the very near future.) So Stephen Hunt’s Court of The Air and the genre defining Difference Engine have finally moved up from the “to read” shelf to “reading.” Along with Kate Elliot’s Shadow Gate.
What can I say, I read fast. I might not get through all three, but at least I have some to be getting on with!
It’s been a busy week this week, and with it a new module at University. We’re covering poetry, for me that means a lot more work than usual. I took to heart the advice given by all authors: read. Read outside your genre, read inside your genre, just read. Alas I don’t read poetry. Not the kind that we’ll be covering at Uni. I read poems to my children. Gruffalo isn’t on the reading list, nor is Spike Milligan. There isn’t an “Albert” or his lion anywhere either.
On top of my extra reading, I am pleased to say that I now blog for Grads.co.uk. I get to experience writing, dealing with audience expectations, publication from a writer’s point of view as well as the editing process.
Of course this is along side my current project. ‘The Novel: First Draft.’ I’m just under 4000 words in having managed about 4 hours this week. Behind already!
I am all sorts of buzzing and I am sure some of you more experienced writers will chuckle at the source of my excitement!
A few weeks back I landed myself a desk from free-cycle. I already have a writing ‘home’ in the form of a bureau. A period piece, shelves with leaded windows for all my research books, I love it to bits. This, however is within sight of the smallest child, and within hearing, tantrum and ‘mummy help’ range. So of no use when I am trying to write. Yes I am an evil mummy – but let’s not get side tracked.
The new-to-me desk required much experimentation and furniture moving over weeks that followed. A little bit of D.I.Y even but this not quite perfect desk in my hideaway works far better than keeping the local coffee shop open and in profit.
Proof can be found in my current assignment, which I can say I am for the first time in the four years I have been submitting work, this one is edited properly, without me being sidetracked.
Today my long suffering husband set up a canvas. A make shift pin board. My writing space is complete.
While contributory, none of this is the source of my happiness.
I plotted my novel! I, me. Yes. I plotted my novel.
It’s all there looking at me every time I walk in the room. My excitement bubbles and I can’t wait to get stuck in.
Now, I am not a plotter – I never thought I would be. I have until recently written by the seat of my pants. (I have intelligent underwear, didn’t you know?) But now I have little pieces of paper held in place by dressmaker pins. It features all the key development areas of my soon to be re-started novel.
I’ve started this novel before. It was a short story. Supposedly. I’ve started this novel before, and got stuck six thousand words in because I didn’t know where I was going.
Now I do.
Now I see the weak areas, the time line, the devices, the conflicts, the turning points.
Now I see an end.
An end. Yes. As I said you more experienced writers might see some humour in my excitement. The first draft is just the beginning isn’t it?
It is a step in the right direction.
So here, I shall share with you my aim to finish this draft by the end of May. Expected word count to be around the 100,000 mark.
Lets see how I get on as I have interactive projects and another university assignment to distract me, as well as my loving family. Can’t be forgetting those folk now can I?